Monday, 4 November 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Only 51 47 days to go!

Uh huh, I said it. Shudder.

And what's with the song titles? Jeez Louise.

The months, weeks, days are flying by, aren't they? Or is it just me, as I get older :)

Thoughts of "the big day", begin much earlier in the year for me as I plan, create, bisque, glaze, continually fire and put the finishing touches to my ceramics for the round of pre-Christmas markets.
And, because I sell many various styles of tree ornaments, along with my usual pieces, there is so much to do.

On Saturday, I attended the very popular Red Hill - well known as the "grand dame" of Victoria's craft markets.
My table was laden with the first of my Christmas goodies, with a great range to choose from.

The pavilions and vast grounds were filled to brimming with colourful stalls and marquees, creating a fantastic atmosphere. And the day was blessed with blue skies and sunshine, enticing people from miles away.

Market trading hours were 8am to 1pm. I sold almost all of my stock by 11:30! Incredible!
There were hardly any times to sit for a spell in between customers. So many lovely people, patiently waiting to buy.
I feel truly honoured and so, so grateful to them all.

Such a wonderful (and welcome) change from the quiet of mid-winter markets, when customers, and purchases, are considerably less.

I can see I will be, "under the pump" to produce much, much more for the rest of the holiday season.
I'm fighting the (slightly) rising panic that I might have bitten off more than I can chew in accepting, and pre-paying stall fees for, so many back to back markets in the coming weeks.

Oh well, sink or swim, here I go. I've got my inflatable armbands, AKA, "floaties" on, so I don't intend to go under, heh heh.

I'll probably continue to be a little scarce here in blogland, as I step up production.
I'll touch base with you, dear blog friends, and leave comments whenever I come up for air - oh dear, does that mean I'll be under water after all? Better not have a puncture in those floaties :)

Warm wishes to you all. See you soon!


  1. Wash your mouth out. I have not really begun to think about the C word. It is after all less than a week (or so it seems) since the last one.
    Good luck with your market stalls. Though good luck is not the term I am hunting for... I hope the discerning customers find you is closer to the mark.

    1. Thank you EC.
      The years do seem to blur in between :)

  2. Bah, I hate Christmas Schmismas :) BUT it looks like it's working for you ;) That's a very lovely problem to have.

    I'm not surprised that your stuff is selling so well because it's gorgeous.

    Oh, and if you're feeling overwhelmed and under pressure, that coffee can wait till the time when you're not, if you'd rather. No pressure :)

    1. I don't hate it so much as we really don't "go nuts" celebrating it. As for shopping centres/malls - ugh, I never go near them. Insanity!!!

      Years ago, when our boy was little, there was so much of the usual Christmas pressure involving family get-togethers, expectations on present buying and literally having to halve yourself to get everything done - it was mental!
      Not to mention the "weirdness" on the day ;)
      We put our foot down eventually, and began to pull away from the madness the season invokes.

      And, I stopped buying presents and began giving cash donations to animal welfare homes on the families' behalf.
      I would pop the donation receipts in each family's card, saying that I'm sure they appreciate that the money went to help feed and care for the lost and abandoned animals who are so in need of it at Christmas - one of the worst times for the shelters.

      Didn't go down too well, haha! But, I wanted to stop spending hard earned dosh on rubbish gifts that would be broken or forgotten about within days/weeks - and never really appreciated.
      And hand-made gifts were not something the family liked.

      Now that we live on the other side of the country, we keep the day (for us three) to a picnic and walk, Jack included, in the Botanical Gardens and back home to my home-made ice-cream pudding cake... sooo much nicer and peaceful. Sane :)

      And, I'm sure we will be able to fit in that coffee, Sue. I just might need it in fact! Thursdays some time in the coming weeks would be best - how 'bout you?

    2. It does seem to be a bit of a mindshift going from crappy presents to donations that some simply do not appreciate, hehe :) I did it for a few years with some members of my family, but now I've just resigned from it completely. I've requested that people not buy me something, and then I don't need to buy them something. I find the energy surrounding Christmas is just so full-on and stressful, to not have to go near shops and things is wonderful. I know some people don't understand and think I'm a miser, but in reality I'm broke, and not really into empty rituals. If Christmas actually meant something, instead of exchanging gifts for - why, exactly? Because of Jesus? How many people really care about that - and where in the Bible does it say to all get together on the day that historians are positive wasn't even Jesus's birthday anyway, to exchange gifts? So we do it because we've always done it? Because it's "for the kids"? I hate all of those reasons.

      So these days I just look at it as celebrating the solstice, and having a family meal on the day, and that's about it. A couple of years ago my partner and I retired completely from civilisation until the whole thing blew over! That was excessively liberating :P

      Thursday is good for me too. Let me know if this week is good, otherwise next week or whenever :)

    3. I too dislike the lack of observing pagan or christian origins and the vast commercialism of it all. We seem to have lost our way.

      But, the time of year means different things to different people. And everyone has their reasons for how they do or don't "celebrate" it.
      I feel more tolerant about that nowadays - I must be getting old :D
      Hubby and I keep it on the down low and are very happy to have time together, as his work has a mandatory two week break.
      We just potter around the house or go for coffees and walks with Jack. Our time. It goes quickly enough, and before we know it, he's back to work.
      One day, our son will leave the nest, and Christmas will be up to he and his lovely girl, whose family celebrates big with ALL the trimmings - it'll be an eye opener for him, and something he'll need to work out how to deal with tactfully after all his years of quiet ones.

      So, I respect other peoples' opinions and ways they handle the season. As long as my and hubby's way is also respected and not questioned, or looked upon, with pity as we don't have a huge family gathering. "Oh, how sad that you don't have a big Christmas with many family and friends", is often the cry when I'm asked about it.
      I shrug. I've seen enough repeats of Christmas Vacation to be secretly glad that I don't.

      As most of my childhood Christmases were non-events, with parents soused in alcohol and a scant lunch was for one usually, the joy of a safe, peaceful day is a treat that I promised myself when I was a young girl. And have kept that promise.

      But, I get that many big families love the chance to whoop it up and come together on the day, delighting in swapping stories and laugh at their children's antics. Sometimes, it's the only time they get to be together due to jobs, distance or other commitments. It's a family holiday more than anything.
      If I came from a large, loving family, I might have been the same.

      As the time approaches, and carols are played on endless rotation in every grocery store, I see and hear people getting more and more frustrated and resentful of it all. The pressure they are feeling is so visible.
      The comments about how much they, "hate Christmas" and how sick it makes them, is sad. If only they could take a step back, assess and make a change, I'm sure they would feel better if they stepped off the merry-go-round.
      But, I've also found that often, the same people choose to let it get to them. Whether by guilt or pressure to do the right thing or what, I don't know.
      I've long learned that some prefer martyrdom, and so, it's not for me to offer suggestions. What do I know anyway? I just back off and keep quiet.
      But, I hear so much at checkouts whilst waiting for groceries to go through, and it's seems to be getting worse each year.
      Sigh. Oh well. We make our own choices.

      I must say, I am extremely grateful at this time of year now, as it is a good earner for me, which makes up for the rest of the year, when market takings can be very hit and miss and sparse.
      At least, I can pay for my supplies, some bills, fees etc. which helps to keep me doing what I love doing without draining hubby's income.

      And, to see faces light up - especially the youngsters - when they can afford a few quality, hand-made items for teachers, friends and family and then tell me how much they love my work, well, it does my soul good.
      I'm a simple person, and ask for little. But it is so nice to get recognition for what I do. And when "old" customers seek me out and return time and again to buy from me, it makes it all so worthwhile. :)

  3. I love that gorgeous little red bird! Christmas seems to creep up on you faster every year, don't you agree?
    I used to start preparations right after Easter, with layby-ing gifts etc, now the grandkids are mostly grown up things are easier. I buy gifts for the two youngest closer to Christmas, older grands get a gift card, adults are happy with a visit. So much easier.
    But you have many busy, busy days ahead, I'm impressed but not at all envious. You'll get your rest in between Christmas and New Year.

    1. It is a pretty red bird that one - and very popular at markets, they are among the first to go. The glaze is even more beautiful "in person" and catches the eye.
      Sounds like you've got Christmas sorted, which is great. Everyone is happy :)

      No rest for me straight afterwards, I'm afraid. As I will be attending markets in the first week of the New Year, when some of the biggest recorded crowds (even more so than Christmas) come to Red Hill Markets looking to spend, as they are in a holiday mood.
      So, I also need to have non-Christmassy things made in between all the Christmassy stuff. Argh!

      It's a good thing I love what I do:)

  4. LOVE, love, love your new products. The clock is so LOVELY! And so is teh red bird (brooch?)...*BIG SWOON* You've really put together a special collection of goodies this year! Sooo THRILLED you sold so much stock--and so quickly--Vicki! Such fun, and satisfying too. ;o) Keep kicking with those floaties... Wishing you a successful and fun sales season! I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner... LOL! ((LOVE & HUGS))

    1. Thanks Tracy - you're always such a supporter of my work, it gives me a big smile :))

      Yes, the wee red robin is a brooch. The glaze is so very nice, with a lustrous depth to it.
      And the clocks are also very popular.

      I'll keep on kicking! :) xx

  5. Vicki, I'm sending you no-punctures-in-the-floaties wishes. I love everything in the photo, especially the red robin brooch, no wonder you're selling out of stock so fast! If I lived near you, you'd be selling out even faster :)



    1. Thank you Victoria. Now I'm sure the floaties will be magically effective, and get me through the season ;)

  6. Every time I hear Turn, Turn, Turn on my Ipod now, my mind says Vicki.
    Today it was on the radio and again I thought, Vicki

    1. Oh dear, sorry about that River :D

      Songs can powerfully evoke memories and thoughts of people, places, events can't they?

      It is a good song though :)

  7. Wow, your kiln is singing, I am sure it. It was great fun to read your post and see all your beautiful things. Love, love, love that red bird... All your love shines through your careful making and attention to small details. So glad you sold through and busy making more. It is satisfying and always electrifying (teehee) to fill a kiln with gift items. Right now mine is filled with the last of the figs and persimmons. A kiln load of hope and joy. Happy making, Vicki.

    1. Thank you so much Charlene. I do hope my kiln behaves and continues to "sing" sweetly for me for some time to come. I know how fickle they can be at times.
      I love your persimmons and figs. Especially figs, my favourite fruit, which features as the name of my business.
      I always look forward to seeing the "fruits of your labours". A true delight :)

  8. so excited for you !!! all your hard work is paying off.
    maybe you should sell christmas items all year long! the Christmas elf of Victoria!
    keep those floaties ON! LOL.
    so much love across this sea.
    ... furever.

    1. Hey Tam! I wish people would be interested in buying ornaments all year 'round, lol. But, to be honest, I've been making so many, I'm a little weary - working around the clock to get everything ready.
      But, it'll be worth it in the end.
      Floaties still on and operational, so far :)

      Love to you across the deep blue. xxx

  9. Don'tchya work *tooooooo* hard now, Ms Vicki. Glad to hear those floaties are still operational. Catch you for that coffee some time when it's not so totally insane ... let me know :)

    1. Hiya Sue! I'm afraid I can't promise not to work too hard - will be working late the next few nights to get my greenware ready to bisque.
      First cab off the rank is Belgrave's, End of the Line Festival. Will you be volunteering again?
      You should swing by my stall for a chat - and, never feel obliged to buy, plenty of people drop by for a chat. Would be lovely to see you.

      Anyway, we need to be having that coffee before then. I'll drop you a line soon :)

  10. I'm SOOOOO tardy in catching up with my fave blogs ... but even so, it's still WAY too early for Xmas! Isn't it???!!! I went through a 'Bah Humbug' phase a few years ago, but now, the older I get the more I look forward to it! December used to be time enough to get started - but this year I've already made my cakes & nearly finished my Xmas shopping - it helps to have a mother-in-law who needs to be taken to the shops!! What would help even more is if I stumbled across a stall like yours! Good luck with it in the Xmas build up - and early Merry Christmas to you!!!

    1. I think I just might "out tardy" you on blog catch ups Red! I feel terrible that I haven't been able to sit long enough at my 'puter to read all the fabulous posts.

      'twould be lovely to meet you, if you did happen across my stall one day - let me know if you venture to the Dandenongs or Red Hill area in the future, I just might have a market stall planned at the same time.

      Wishing you all the very, merry best too in your early Chrissie preparations :)


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